Conference Program “Stories of Illness/ Disability in Literature and Comics”

2017 10 27 - 2017 10 29

Stories of Illness/ Disability in Literature and Comics.
Intersections of the Medical, the Personal, and the Cultural

PathoGraphics research group

Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of Literary Studies
Freie Universität Berlin

Organizer’s announcement:
“This conference examines the ways in which knowledge and experience of illness and disability circulate within the realms of medicine, art, the personal and the cultural. Speakers address this question from a variety of different perspectives, including literary scholarship, comics studies, media studies, disability studies, the health humanities and sociology.

With a Keynote by Leigh Gilmore (Wellesley College): “Tainted Witness: Risking Aversion in Autobiographical Comics”. Places will be made available for free and on a first-come, first-served basis. To register, please email between (but not before) 2-20 October 2017.”

To the organizer’s page

Continue Reading: Full program

Report “Summer School: Transnational Graphic Narratives”

University of Siegen, Germany. July 31st – August 5th 2017

Contributed by Amadeo Gandolfo, Pablo Turnes, Laura Nallely Hernández Nieto and Lia Roxana Donadon

Illustration by Suraya Binti Md Nasir (artistic web profile:; excellent visual work was created by several other participants as well (e.g., Subir Dey’s:


The first Transnational Graphic Narratives Summer School (abbreviated TGN) was held at the University of Siegen, Campus Unteres Schloß, from July 31st to August 5th of 2017. The participants included the following scholars (in alphabetical order): José Alaniz (University of Washington, USA), Benoît Crucifix (Université de Liège, Belgium), Veronica Dean (University of Los Angeles, USA), Subir Dey (Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, India), Harriet Earle (Sheffield Hallam University, England), Franca Feil (Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany), Moritz Fink (Academy for Civic Education Tutzing, Germany), Amadeo Gandolfo and Pablo Turnes (National University of Buenos Aires / CONICET, Argentina), Isabelle Guillaume (University of Bordeaux Montaigne, France), Olivia Hicks (University of Dundee, Scotland), Ganiyu A. Jimoh (University of Lagos, Nigeria), Kenan Koçak (Bilecik Şeyh Edebali University, Turkey), Sarah Lightman (University of Glasgow, Scotland), Suraya Md Nasir (Kyoto Seika University, Japan), Laura Nallely Hernández Nieto (National Autonomous University of Mexico), Barbara Postema (Concordia University, Canada), Johannes Schmid (University of Hamburg, Germany), Pfunzo Sidogi (Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa), Simon Turner (Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Culture, England), Jocelyn Wright (University of Texas, USA), Tobias Yu-Kiener (University of the Arts London, Great Britain), Giorgio Buzzi Rizzi (University of Bologna, Italy), Lia Roxana Donadon (University of Siegen, Germany).

Group Shot by Jimoh Ganiyu

Group Shot by Jimoh Ganiyu


Prof. Dr. Daniel Stein and Dr. des. Lukas Etter (University of Siegen) were in charge of the organization of the TGN Summer School, with logistical support of student assistants Katja Dosztal and Yvonne Knop (University of Siegen). The Summer School was generously funded by the Volkswagen Foundation.

Continue Reading: Conference Report

Panel by the AG Comicforschung in Paris

2017 06 28 - 2017 07 01

The AG Comicforschung hosts an English-language panel entitled “Cartoon Bodies and Graphic Sensuality” on Saturday, 1 July 2017 as part of the annual conference of the European Network for Cinema and Media Studies (NECS). Panel chair is Erwin Feyersinger (Tübingen).

Panel description (shortened):

“This panel combines four approaches to re-examine this idiosyncratic graphic sensuality: Ranging from the ambiguously emancipatory and racist traditions of physiognomically deformed bodies in the early 20th century, through their redrawing in the genre-defining art of underground comix and the political implications of their mutual naturalization and denaturalization in mainstream comics, to the yet innovative re-distribution of depicted and elicited agency in digital comics, these contributions are posed to focus the discussion of this aesthetic ambivalence and promise through four concrete analyses.”

Panel talks:

  • Lukas R.A. Wilde (Tübingen), “Interfacing (Digital) Comics: The Distribution and Negotiation of Agency and Control”
  • Markus Engelns (Duisburg-Essen), “Seeing fragmented Bodies – Towards an inherent political quality of comic books”
  • Stephan Packard (Freiburg/Cologne), “‘Striking Our Time in Its Face’: The Implausibly Denied Aggression of Caricature in Cartoons Focused Through Karl Kraus’ Battles with the Genre”
  • Véronique Sina (Bochum), “‘If only I’d had a nose job’ – Representations of the Gendered Jewish Body in the Works of Aline Kominsky Crumb”

Website of the AG Comicforschung (with extensive abstracts)

Website of the NECS conference

Forum “Drawing Illness: Graphic Memoir and the Art of Getting Better”

2017 04 20


“In recent decades the graphic memoir has emerged as one of the most successful genres of alternative comics. These works address real experiences ranging from war and persecution to migration and discrimination. Graphic illness writing, as a major sub-genre, tells of personal encounters with physical and mental illness. The comics form is particularly well-suited to express highly emotional experiences of personal crisis and trauma. The abstraction of the cartoon drawing style, as well as, the blanks in between panels for the readers to fill, enable artists to visualize experiences that elude other media.

In her recent graphic memoir Lighter than my Shadow (2013) British author Katie Green depicts her adolescent experience of eating disorders and abuse. But the self-described “trip into the black heart of a taboo illness“ is also a story of recovery, coming of age, and self-expression through art. The drawing process itself becomes a way to work through her experience, give them a shape, and, finally, of getting better. This workshop will seek to explore how lines and scribbles can express complex emotional trauma and comic panels frame, contain, and explain where words fall short.”


  • Katie Green, “Drawing Shadows”
  • Lukas Etter, “Lines, Curls, Scribbles: Individual Drawing and Individual Style”
  • Panel diskussion with Katie Green (Author of Lighter than my Shadow), Lukas Etter (University of Siegen), Christina Maria Koch (University of Marburg) and Johannes C. P. Schmid (University of Hamburg); moderator: Astrid Böger (Director Arbeitsstelle für Graphische Literatur, University of Hamburg)




2017 04 19 - 2017 04 21

Comics and Memory is an international NNCORE conference (Nordic Network for Comic Research) organized at the University of Ghent from April 19-21, 2017, in collaboration with the KU Leuven, UCLouvain (GRIT), and the ACME comics research group (University of Liège). This conference examines the complex relationships between comics and memory through the prisms of personal, collective, and medial forms as well as practices of remembering.

The conference is free and open to the public.

To the Conference Page

Continue Reading: Full Programm

Public Lecture “Ethics, Politics, and the Visual Representation of Disability” at the FU Berlin

Professor G. Thomas Couser (New York) is going to speak about the topic “PathoGraphic Embodiment: Ethics, Politics, and the Visual Representation of Disability” at the FU Berlin. The lecture is organized by the PathoGraphics research project and the Friedrich-Schlegel Graduate School for Literary Studies (FU Berlin).

Organizer’s announcement:
“Thomas Couser, Professor emeritus of English and founding director of the disability studies program at Hofstra University (USA) is internationally renowned for his research in the areas of life writing and disability. He is known within American literature and cultural studies circles specifically for his books Recovering Bodies: Illness, Disability, and Life Writing (1997),
Vulnerable Subjects: Ethics and Life Writing (2004), Signifying Bodies: Disability in Contemporary Life Writing (2009) and Memoir: An Introduction (2010).

In his lecture at Freie Universität Thomas Couser will speak about his work to date on literary pathographies as compared to visual/textual narratives of illness and disability in comics and graphic novels. What significance do the respective genres have for authors and their readers? What are the ethical, political and aesthetic concerns in narratives of illness and disability in both literary and graphic form?

The lecture will be followed by a discussion between Thomas Couser and MK Czerwiec (Chicago), American comic artist, nurse, and co-founder of the online platform Graphic Medicine, as well as author of the graphic novel Taking Turns: Stories from HIV/AIDS Care Unit 371. Lecture and discussion are open to the public: all those interested are warmly welcome to attend. Reception to follow.”

Continue to the FU page

Programme of the Kiel Comic Conference “Beginnings and Renewals in Comics”

2016 09 09 - 2016 09 11

Organised by the editorial team of CLOSURE, Kiel University’s e-journal for comics studies, Kiel’s first comic conference will be held from the 9th to the 11th of September 2016 at the University of Kiel. The conference focuses on ›Beginnings‹ and ›Renewals‹ in comics and takes into account both formal and historical aspects of the genre. The conference explicitly seeks to approach this topic from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Panels consist of 11 papers delivered by international comics scholars, a keynote address by Silke Horstkotte, and a concluding panel discussion. On Friday night, the conference opens with a comic book reading at the art gallery in Kiel. Four comic book artists – Tanja Esch from Hamburg, Jul Gordon and Sascha Hommer (»Kontaktcenter Hamburg«) and Gregor Hinz (comic magazine »Pure Fruit«) – read from their respective works, thereby approaching the topics of Beginnings and Renewals from a performative perspective. Presentations and the comic book reading are free of charge and open to university members as well as to the general public.

Attending the conference is free of charge and open to the public. Lectures will be given partly in English and partly in German

On the conference’s topic:
“On your marks! More than any other narrative field, graphic storytelling is determined by beginnings. Case in point: 2012 saw the newest in a long line of reboots, as DC comics renumbered and restarted its series and its universe. It is not just the context of serial superhero stories, however, that is characterized by ›beginnings‹ and ›renewals‹ – any historical perspective requires both comics and comics studies to re-examine the question of beginnings.

The conference, held on September 9-11, 2016 in Kiel, Germany, will focus on the themes of ›beginning‹ and ›renewal‹ in comics, seeking a wide range of interdisciplinary approaches to the question of what constitutes a new start in comics and for comics. This includes ›beginning‹ as a formal device as well as related inquiries into the narratological, stylistic and theoretical implications of beginnings within the structure of comics. Further approaches include the question of beginnings of the medium, its discourses and the study of comics. Last but not least: ›beginnings‹, ›renewals‹ and ›fresh starts‹ will also be analyzed as themes and motifs.”


Location: Kunsthalle zu Kiel, Düsternbrooker Weg 1, 24105 Kiel

Friday, 09 Sep 2016
17:30–18:15 h Registration
18:30–19:30 h Welcome and Reception
20:00–21:30 h Comic Reading at the KunsthalleDetails

Location: Kiel University, Leibnizstraße 1 (room 204), 24118 Kiel

Saturday, 10 Sep 2016
09:15–09:45 h Conference Opening and Short Introduction
Panel 1
09:45–10:30 h Joachim Jordan (Berlin, Germany):
The Sleepless Nights of Major Stefanov. Uncertain, Endless Beginnings in the Bulgarian Comic of the Eighties.
10:30–11:15 h Carmela Artime Omil (Barcelona, Spain):
Claiming Truth: Beginnings in Spanish Graphic Novels on the Civil War (2005-2015)
11:15–11:30 h Break
Panel 2
11:30–12:15 h Paul M. Malone (Waterloo, Canada):
Werbecomics at the Beginning of German Comics
12:15–13:00 h Camilla Murgia (Geneva, Switzerland):
Speech Balloons, Bubbles and Captions: the Rise of Narrative in 18th-Century British Comics
13:00–14:00 h Lunch Break
Panel 3
14:00–14:45 h Janek Scholz (Aachen, Germany):
Game Over and Reset. Serielle Neuanfänge im Comic Daytripper von Fábio Moon und Gabriel Bá
14:45–15:30 h David Turgay (Wörth, Germany):
First Page, First Issue, New Volume: Starting a Character Again and Again
15:30–16:15 h Annina Klappert (Erfurt, Germany):
Anders anfangen. Building Stories von Chris Ware
16:15–16:45 h Break
16:45–17:45 h Keynote: Silke Horstkotte (Warwick, UK):
Textanfänge, Weltanfänge. Peer Meters Serienmörder-Trilogie
17:45–18:15 h Break
18:30–open end Conference Dinner
Sunday, 11 Sep 2016
Panel 4
09:30–10:15 h Lukas R. A. Wilde (Tübingen, Germany):
On the Contemporary ›Mangaization‹ of Japanese Public Spaces: the Base-Narrativity of Manga-Pictoriality
10:15–11:00 h Jasmin Böschen (Hamburg, Germany):
Neuanfang in der Wissenschaft? Comic als Initiator für Visuelle Bildung
11:00–11:15 h Break
Panel 5
11:15–12:00 h Pascal Lefèvre (Brussels, Belgium):
Publication Format and Beginnings
12:00–12:45 h Bettina Egger (Salzburg, Austria):
Aesthetics of Polemics: L’Association and the Transformation of the Comic Book in the 1990s
12:45–13:15 h Break
13:15–14:00 h Closing Discussion
14:00 h Farewell


Continue to the conference page with full abstracts

Symposium “Narrative Structures and Visual Storytelling” at the ITFS

2016 04 27 10:00

The Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Films (ITFS) will be the host of an academic symposium on “Narrative Structures and Visual Storytelling”, organized in collaboration with the Society of Animation Studies, the School of Art, Design and Media at Nanyang Technological University Singapore, the Institute of Media Studies at Eberhard Karls University Tübingen, the AG Animation and the Literaturhaus Stuttgart.

Organizer’s announcement:
“The symposium negotiates the role and use of narrative structure and visual storytelling in literature, illustration, graphic storytelling and animation. International experts will address this fascinating theme in presentations. Topics include the relationship between color and visual storytelling, choices of graphic techniques in adaptations for comics and animation and the socio-cultural context of color in illustration, animation and comics. We will welcome internationally renowned experts from around the globe plus a highly distinguished keynote speaker.”


Prof. Michaela Pavlatova: The stories without the story / From my kitchen (Keynote)
Prof. Michael Schwertel: Digital Storytelling – What we could learn from the past to handle virtual reality (Keynote)
Lea Vidakovic: Animation installation and spatial storytelling
Assoc. Prof. Benjamin Seide: The Influence of Digital Visual Effects on Storytelling Structure (Keynote)
Naima Alam: So Relatable: Comic Medium as a Portrayal of the Social Realities of Bangladesh
Markus Watzl: Writing for modern-day-children – Geschichten aus Märchental

Entry: 15,- Euro at box office/ Free with accreditation or Festivalpass ITFS

Continue to organizer’s page

Winter School “Transmedial Narratology: Theories and Methods”

2016 02 23 13:00h - 2016 02 26

Winter_School_Transmedial_Narratology_smallTuebingen University’s Winter School 2015/16, organized by Jan-Noël Thon, brings together nine international keynote speakers to discuss “Transmedial Narratology: Theories and Methods”.

Karin Kukkonen (Oslo) opens up the Comic Book-workshop of the Winter School with “Transmedial Narratology and Comics Storytelling”. Anne Rüggemeier (Heidelberg) gives a presentation on “’I pose for all the characters in my book’: The Multimodal Processes of Production in Alison Bechdel‘s Are you my mother?” and Laura Schlichting (Giessen) continues with “What Transmedia Can Do for Graphic Journalism”.

Other keynote-speaker are Werner Wolf (Graz), Alison Gibbons (Leicester), Jan Alber (Aarhus), Erwin Feyersinger (Tübingen), Michael Butter (Tübingen) , Jan-Noël Thon (Tübingen) himself, Irina O. Rajewsky (Berlin) and Marie-Laure Ryan (Independent).

Complete program
Organizer’s page

Masterclass with Lev Manovich

2015 09 23 10:00-17:00

Hybride Narrativität_Förderer


Date: 23 September 2015, 10am-5pm, University of Potsdam
To sign up for the workshop, please contact Jochen Laubrock at: Participation is free but will be limited to 20 seats, so please register early.

Lev Manovich is Professor of Computer Science at The Graduate Center, City University of New York, and founder and director of the Software Studies Initiative. In 2014 he was included in The Verge’s list of the 50 “most interesting people building the future”. He is well known for the automated exploration, analysis, and visualization of big image data, as exemplified in the “One million manga pages” or “Selfiecity” projects. Manovich is the author of Software Takes Command (Bloomsbury, 2013), Black Box – White Cube (Merve, 2005), Soft Cinema (MIT Press, 2005), The Language of the New Media (MIT Press, 2001), Metamediji (Belgrade, 2001), Tekstura: Russian Essays on Visual Culture (Chicago University Press, 1993) as well as over 120 articles which have been published in 30 countries and reprinted over 450 times. He is also one of the editors of the Software Studies book series (MIT Press) and Quantitative Methods in the Humanities and Social Science (Springer).

Organizers’ Page